Learning not to work against ourselves
SOMETIMES we seem to be, as the saying goes, ``our own worst enemies.'' We may think of ourselves as failures, or unattractive, as victims of others' injustice, even as singled out (by some sort of destiny!) to be sickly and wretched. Entertaining such dreary concepts of ourselves and our situations fosters feelings of inadequacy, fear, and resentment. It tends to undermine our success as well as our happiness. When Christ Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, the Bible tells us, ``the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, and saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee.''1 It might be said that the devil knew he himself could not throw Jesus down from the pinnacle; he could only suggest that Jesus throw himself down.
And now, today, are we going to let ``the devil''--false, destructive elements of thought--trick us into throwing ourselves down?
Jesus gave us the answer. He commanded, ``Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.'' Then, we are told, ``the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.''2 So when you and I, like the Master, worship God with all our hearts and put Him first in our judgments and acts, the angel message of divine Love will come and minister to us.
In Christian Science we gain a higher sense of ourselves in harmony with the Scriptural teaching that our true selfhood is God's very likeness. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of this Science, tells us: ``A knowledge of the Science of being develops the latent abilities and possibilities of man. It extends the atmosphere of thought, giving mortals access to broader and higher realms.''3 The Science of being shows God to be perfect Spirit, as we can learn from the Bible. It shows Him to be the harmonious creative Principle, or divine Love, the unadulterated Truth, that underlies all genuine reality. And it reveals us to be His blessed expression.
Humble receptivity to this spiritual reality opens our consciousness to the healing Christ-power by which the Master did his mighty works. In our time, as in his, the power of Christ harmonizes every area of daily experience. When we feel down, that's the time to drop the mental shackles we've imposed on ourselves either deliberately or by acquiescence and honor what we truly are in our spiritual, authentic being.
A needed step in this process is to put egotism and self-concern aside and gain deeper humility--not the self-flagellating kind but the exalting kind that acknowledges God to be the infinite Ego we reflect. Truly, we are greatest when we are on bended knee, praising God's allness!
We need also, through humble prayer, to let the power of Truth remove all mental hurts and scars. Truth is a comforter. It will cleanse our memories, leave only what is worthy of being locked up in our hearts--and blow the rest away.
Gradually we learn in Christian Science to forgive the harshness we've seen and to love more expansively. This is the only dependable way to feel loved ourselves. You can't close the door to giving and expect it to stay open for receiving. And let's not say, ``I don't know how to do this loving.'' There is always someone to help, something to give.
We should be thinking of ourselves not in a deprecating way--not as discordant material personalities--but as God's spiritual expression. As such, we include the calm, authority, and spontaneity--the loveliness--of perfect and satisfied being. This is not to ignore sin but to uproot it and destroy it through a higher, spiritual sense of man. To wallow in self-condemnation will never bring healing.
We have the right, then, to claim in behalf of ourselves the promise made to Jeremiah concerning his followers: ``I will build them, and not pull them down.... And I will give them an heart to know me, that I am the Lord: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God.''4
Where is there room in that practice for working against ourselves? There is none.
1Matthew 4:5, 6. 2Matthew 4:10, 11. 3Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 128. 4Jeremiah 24:6, 7. DAILY BIBLE VERSE There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus . . . Romans 8:1